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An Early Look at Derby Week

An Early Look at Derby Week

by Monty Webb

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 9:52 PM

First Look at Derby Week

Derby is just ten days away, but forecasting that far out can be challenging at best!  With that said, let's have some fun and give it a try!

GFS Weather Model

Both the GFS and Euro are showing that an upper level low will be wobbling over the Ohio Valley by the middle of next week and even hinting that it may become cut-off from the jet stream.  Cut-Off Lows are notoriously difficult to forecast!  (It can never be easy for Derby Week!)

Wednesday (Great Steamboat Race)

This will set the stage for chilly showers Wednesday with highs only in the 50s!

GFS Heights and Vorticity - Wednesday Evening


GFS Surface/Thickness - Wednesday Evening

Notice the 540 thickness line (map above) is south of Louisville by Wednesday evening.  That is some pretty strong cold air advection for this time of year.

Thursday (Pegasus Parade)

The upper level Low is no over PA, but we are still seeing a little wrap around moisture at the surface that could give us a slight chance for a stray shower.  The 540 thickness line has moved just to the north of Louisville, so highs should climb to the upper 50s.  Chilly Pegasus Parade!



GFS Heights and Vorticity - Thursday Evening



GFS Surface/Thickness - Thursday Evening

Friday (Oaks Day)

The upper level low is now heading towards Maine with ridging build over the Midwest.  At the surface we see a little more warm air advection with thickness values climbing to around 550.  This should allow us to make it into the low 60s with no rain. 

You might want to bring a light jacket with you to Churchill Downs.



GFS Heights and Vorticity - Friday Evening



GFS Surface/Thickness - Friday Evening

Saturday (The Kentucky Derby)

As we stand right now the weather looks nice for the Derby...  The upper level Low is gone, ridging is building over Kentuckiana and some decent warm air advection is happening at the surface.  Highs for Derby near 70.



GFS Heights and Vorticity - Saturday Evening


GFS Surface/Thickness - Saturday Evening

Derby Week Forecast

Here's my forecast...  But expect changes as we get closer and I fine tune the forecast each day!